I guess New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest party nights the world over and Tenerife is no exception. Here, it’s a fabulously glittery affair involving the whole community. Because the nights are balmy, the biggest and best parties are held in the open air where families, friends and visitors all come together to celebrate beneath the stars.
One of the things I love about New Year’s Eve here is how dressed up everyone gets. From full highland dress to backless cocktail numbers and black tie suits, the crowd are dressed to kill. It’s great to see even 12 and 13 year olds in full evening wear and the girls all have their hair coiffured and have clearly borrowed Mum’s best jewels for the evening.
It’s pretty much impossible to be over dressed.
Where we live in Puerto de la Cruz the night begins around 11pm in Plaza Charco when the live music strikes up and the dancing begins. The bands are invariably Latino and the music is salsa. There’s no nonsense about not wanting to be first onto the dance floor – the opening chords are struck and front of stage beneath the golden lights is instantly filled with sexy salsa movers and shakers.
Alongside Plaza Charco on Calle Perdomo a DJ blasts out house, dance Euro-trance and garage to the JD & coke swilling crowds of mainly younger Canarios who occupy the length of the street.
Residents often bring their own alcohol supply and the essential chilled bottles of cava for when the midnight hour strikes but beautifully decorated kiosks around the plaza do a brisk trade in keeping the crowds’ thirst at bay.
At 11.50pm the band stops playing and the crowd moves en masse a few yards to the harbour front for the big midnight hour.
The Canarios practice the Spanish tradition of eating grapes to ensure happiness in the coming year. As soon as the first stroke of midnight is chimed out in a sky rocket, the first grape is swallowed and then the next eleven are downed – one for each rocket chime of the hour.
You’d be amazed how difficult it is to swallow 12 grapes in rapid succession, especially when you get a fit of the giggles just three grapes in.
A word of advice if you’re going to join in with this little tradition…the grapes in the supermarket are not the de-seeded variety so if you want to stand any chance of success, a bit of grape surgery is needed before you head out to the celebrations.
Grapes swallowed, the cava and champagne corks are popped and the night sky above the harbour waters is illuminated in a spectacular fireworks display to welcome in the New Year.
Then it’s everyone back to the Plaza and the live music and dancing continue long into the early hours. Jack and I usually find ourselves walking home somewhere around the 5am mark, at least, we think it’s around that time but we’re never very clear about it the next day for some reason…
If you’re on Tenerife this New Year’s Eve, stock up on cava, de-seed your grapes and head to the street parties, you’ll find them in the plazas at Los Cristianos, El Médano, Los Gigantes and Puerto de la Cruz.
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
Category : festivals & carnivals
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